The incident comes days after Health Minister K Sudhakar said that testing in Bengaluru will be increased to one lakh per day.

Screenshots of two BBMP contract staff members caught faking swab collection for COVID-19 testsScreengrab
news COVID-19 Sunday, April 11, 2021 - 11:56

Two staffers of the Kodigehalli Primary Health Center (PHC) in Bengaluru have been caught on video faking swab collection. The Kodigehalli police on Saturday registered a First Information Report (FIR) based on a complaint by Dr Premanand BR, a medical officer from the Kodigehalli PHC.

A video surfaced where two PHC staffers were seen opening brand new swabs and putting them into vials without taking a sample. The swabs are used to take nasal and throat samples from people and then placed in the vial before they are sent to a lab for testing. In the video, the two men have a crate of vials, which they opened and placed brand new swabs into them without taking any samples. Along with the men, some female voices are heard in the video joking about what they are doing. The female staffer recording the video is heard saying that if the video goes on Facebook everyone will know what they are up to. One of the men replies that he is not afraid and will continue.

The video went viral on Whatsapp, according to the FIR registered by the Kodigehalli Police. The FIR revealed that senior officials saw the video and sent it to Dr Premanand. After seeing the video, he complained to the police and an FIR was registered. In the FIR, he mentioned that this act took place in the PHC when he was not present.

According to the FIR, the two staffers committing the fraud are Hemanth and Nagaraj, who had been appointed 10 months ago to collect swabs for COVID-19 testing. The three female voices heard in the video have been identified by the police as Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers Kusuma, Prema and Padma, who work in the PHC. Another personnel, Ashok from the PHC, was also seen in the video, according to the FIR.

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